Sydney Airport backs AirAsia X's bid to begin Sydney flights

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Sydney Airport has publicly backed Malaysia's AirAsia X in its bid for government approval to begin flights to Sydney.

"Flights by AirAsia X would benefit passengers in both Malaysia and Australia and build tourism and cultural and commercial links in the two countries. Fundamentally, airlines should be able to fly where passengers want them to go," says the airport's CEO Russell Balding.

AirAsia X, the long-haul operations of low-cost carrier AirAsia, had planned to begin flights to Sydney in mid-2010 but has not received approval to do so from the Malaysian government.

It has said this is because the government wants to protect flag carrier Malaysia Airlines, which is the only airline flying between Kuala Lumpur and Sydney.

This has been denied by Malaysian authorities, which said in April that AirAsia X's application is still being considered.

The airline recently unveiled an Airbus A330 aircraft painted with the slogan "Liberate Sydney - end the monopoly" as it continues to lobby for rights to fly to Sydney.